Logic of English and English as a Second Language Learners

Second Language Learners often struggle to make sense of written English. Students from Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, and other developed nations have typically learned their first language in a systematic manner and understand the code underlying written words. Second language students usually approach English by looking for patterns. They frequently ask questions about spelling. However, English speakers and teachers rarely know the answers; instead, they perpetuate the myth that English spelling is outdated and illogical and therefore must be memorized by rote.

Yet, this is not true. Ninety-eight percent of English words can be logically explained. The problem is that English is not a transparent code where one letter corresponds to only one sound. Rather, English is an opaque code and therefore the code is not easily distilled without explicit teaching of the sounds, their written representations, and the rules which govern them.

Spoken English is comprised of 44 sounds written in 75 basic ways. By learning the 44 sounds in isolation and their possible spellings, ESL and EFL students are able to not only begin to learn the code, but also develop the sounds needed for accurate pronunciation and comprehension of spoken English.

Knowing the logic of English provides ESL/EFL students with strategies to pronounce any word in English. For example, it is vital that all students learn that the letter C says two sounds /k/ and /s/ and that C says the sound /s/ only before an E, I, or Y. This rule clarifies the difference between words such as clap, cap, and arc, and words such as cent, citizen, and cymbal. It also explains why the C's in circle say two different sounds.

ESL and EFL students will all benefit from learning the 9 reasons for adding a silent final E in English, the relationship between I and Y, how to add a suffix to any word, and much more. Knowing the 106 essential components to English spelling will revolutionize learning to read, spell, and pronounce English words.

Finally, one of the most challenging aspects of English is vocabulary development. The scope of the English language is daunting, with a well-educated adult knowing as many as 100,000 words. Unfortunately, words are typically taught in a haphazard fashion without attention to the meanings of roots, suffixes, and prefixes. Yet knowing the key parts which make up English words and their meanings will drastically simplify ESL and EFL students' studies. They will be equipped to find the meaning within the words. For example, the 14 most frequently used prefixes, roots, and suffixes combine to form over 800 words!

Learn more about Logic of English Essentials curriculum for English language learners here.
To learn the basic phonograms and spelling rules, check out the free videos on our YouTube channel, as well as our Phonogram Chart and Spelling Rules list.